BMW Won't Run New Car until 2006

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said on Saturday the team will not run their new car before the end of this year but confirmed they are on course to give it a track debut early in 2006

BMW Won't Run New Car until 2006

Theissen, who refused to confirm his expected position as team leader, is confident that good progress has been made in the three months since their buy-out of Sauber.

"It is going quite well," he told Autosport-Atlas. "It is a separate operation from what we do for the current season so it is quite difficult to deal with two completely different issues at the same time but we have made significant progress.

"We have decided on all the long lead issues but there is another six months of hard work to get ready for the first race of the new team. We will have the car running early next year but we have not fixed any dates yet."

Theissen is almost certain to become the team principal but added: "That is something some people wrote that I wanted but we will show the complete team with the key people early next year. I am sure there will be a role for me."

The team have already signed Nick Heidfeld as their lead driver for the long term and recent speculation had linked Austrian Christian Klien to the second seat at BMW despite his links with Red Bull.

The energy drinks company has four places on the grid, two with Red Bull Racing and two with the Minardi team, which they have bought and will turn into a junior team for next season.

But it has been suggested they are keen to have a quarter of the drivers on the grid backed by Red Bull next year and placing Klien, a German speaker, in at BMW could be a possible move.

But Theissen said: "That is speculation without something really behind it. I am interested in a lot but at this point I cannot talk about driver issues because I have not talked to the drivers."

After six years partnering Williams, BMW look set to leave the team on a low and qualifying for this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix followed a trend of poor performances with Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia low down on the grid.

After the session Theissen said: "That was incredibly disappointing. Contrary to most competitors both drivers were not nearly able to achieve the times they achieved in the morning's free practice.

"That was due to individual mistakes and the set-up of the car was not perfect either, so now it will be quite difficult to get into the points from those low grid positions.

"We would have expected and we would have liked to finish the season on a high with some good results so this is disappointing. But maybe we can still do it, let us see what happens.

"In normal conditions there is not a big chance to get into the points but the weather conditions could change the whole game and there is some predictions of rain tomorrow. Then it just depends on who makes the right moves."

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